Tuesday, March 12, 2019


We'd selected our final destination for this trip and on the way decided to stay at a place our old neighbours recommended. The journey involved a taxi (a mate of the owner who turned up late, because he was getting his hair cut, in a battered Toyota with no brakes) to Khanom town, a bus we cuaght by a minute that took us to Surat Thani van station and a local bus to the train station. The train to Chumphon was a delightful 80 pence each for the hot and sweaty three and a half hour journey, and paying attention out of the window netted me Racket-tailed Treepie, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Cinnamon Bittern, Little, Intermediate & Eastern Cattle Egrets, White-breasted Waterhen, White-throated Kingfisher, Greater Coucal, etc. many of those in the Pak Tako region.

Villa Varich was a more up market resort than we are used to. Based south of town on the Tha Taphap river and had bicycles and kayaks for use free of charge. An excellent breakfast was also included so the £16 a night for an en suite air conditioned room was pretty good value. They grew and roasted their own coffee on site, which was a bit wasted on me as I can't stand the stuff but was fascinating to see.

Plenty of common birds about and getting out on bikes among the wet palm groves and farmland increased the variety. We took one trip down river on kayaks and had great views of Black-capped Kingfisher as well as a few White-breasted Waterhens, Striated Heron, etc. Other highlights include Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Grey-headed Swamphen, Purple Heron and Indochinese Roller.

Indochinese Roller Coracias affinis

Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus

With photography still proving tricky several birds had to be left unidentified; Swiftlets, Pond Herons, an accipiter and a Prinia all fell into that category along with a typical Cuckoo seen well but with Himalayan and Indian both possible unable to get to species. Another frustration was a Spotted Wood-owl calling often close to the room at night. Attempts to see it were pretty hopeless though as it stayed in a neighbouring property.

At least one lifer fell here though with a few sightings of Vinous-breasted Starling; a bird it's surprising I've not come across before.

Vinous-breasted Starling Acridotheres leucocephalus

Other wildlife included a Common Treeshrew, Water Monitors and plenty of butterflies.
Blue Glassy Tiger Ideopsis vulgaris

White Tiger Danaus melanippus

Just 37 species identified here:
Lesser Whistling-Duck
Spotted Dove
Greater Coucal
Asian Koel
Cuculus sp.
swiftlet sp.
Grey-headed Swamphen
White-breasted Waterhen
Red-wattled Lapwing
Asian Openbill
Yellow Bittern
Purple Heron
Intermediate Egret
Little Egret
Cattle Egret (Eastern)
pond heron sp.
Striated Heron (Old World)
Crested Honey-buzzard
Accipiter sp.
Spotted Wood-Owl (Heard only)
Black-capped Kingfisher
Indochinese Roller
Lineated Barbet
Common Flameback
Black Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Brown Shrike
Large-billed Crow
Dark-necked Tailorbird
prinia sp.
Pacific Swallow
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Streak-eared Bulbul
Asian Pied Starling
Common Myna
Vinous-breasted Starling
Great Myna
Oriental Magpie-Robin
Taiga Flycatcher
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Olive-backed Sunbird

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